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How do you determine the difference between hunger and appetite?

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Old 05-10-2010, 02:11 AM   #1
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Question How do you determine the difference between hunger and appetite?

Hi everyone --- this is my first thread start. Here goes:
This is a question that I find very interesting and important to weight loss: When facing the decision of to eat or not to eat, how do you determine whether you are actually hungry and need to eat, or whether you just have an appetite (desire to eat)? And, have you gotten better at determining this as you have successfully lost weight?
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:23 AM   #2
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I think this is where I really fall down. Mainly because I ALWAYS want to eat. There's not a time where I want to say no to food.

Because of this I try to judge my hunger by the clock. If I had a substantial breakfast at 8:30am, am I really hungry at 10:30am or am I just letting my mind take over? Basically, I set myself targets that I will next eat at Xo'clock and not before.

Maybe one day I'll be able to go by what my head tells me, but it's not going to be for a very long time.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:12 AM   #3
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Over the years, here at 3FC, I've been part of a couple conversations about actual grumbling stomach hunger. It seems that somehow er other ... some of us don't get it.
In my case ... Since eliminating a few food items (potatoes and grains) I do. Before that? I don't remember the last time I was grumbling tummy hungry. Oh I could always eat and often had a 'taste' for something but no grumblings.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:54 AM   #4
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I think that this is an excellent question! I struggled with learning the difference between hunger and appetite. I had to learn to focus in on my body signals instead of what my brain and emotions were telling me. I am not sure how to describe the difference. I had to let my body get physically hungry a few times to learn. When I am hungry, my stomach feels empty and carrots will please me. If I only want carbs or junk, I am pretty sure that it is appetite, not hungry. Extreme hunger will make me get light headed but I don't let myself get there any more.

I think you should experiment. Plan your meals and a few times go 3 or 4 hours without eating to learn what physical hunger feels like.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:00 AM   #5
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I want to add to what time2lose said. If you are truly hungry, and someone offers you an apple, you will eat the apple.

If it's not really hunger but that tricky something else you're calling appetite, you won't want the apple.

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Old 05-10-2010, 11:12 AM   #6
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I think I know the difference for me, its a matter of taking a step back to determine what's really going on.

I have a HUGE appetite.....yeah that's what got me here in the first place LOL, however I do know when I'm hungry. I try to eat at the same times every day. 8:30, 11:00, 2:00, 4:30 and 7:00. On the weekends that gets skewed and my stomach grumbles around those times like clockwork if I haven't eaten anything.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:44 PM   #7
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I listen to stomach hunger(growling, like butterflies feeling) than looking at the clock.or Mouth hunger(when food is there). This is a learning eating process that sometimes it is complex.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayEll View Post
I want to add to what time2lose said. If you are truly hungry, and someone offers you an apple, you will eat the apple.

If it's not really hunger but that tricky something else you're calling appetite, you won't want the apple.

Jay
This is what I go by too. If I am thinking that I'm hungry and some fruit or veggies sounds appealing, I assume it's genuine physical hunger and I will eat the fruit or veggies, even if that puts me above my calories for the day (but of course, it's not going to put me too far above because these foods don't have a huge amount of calories in a moderate portion size).

If I don't want the fruit/veg but am thinking that I want to eat SOMETHING but it has to be a less healthy choice for me to be satisfied, then I know it's not real hunger and I'm bored or want to eat for comfort, etc., etc. and then I'll distract myself so I don't eat, or if it's at night, I might just go to bed instead.
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:00 PM   #9
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I have noticed the same thing as some of the other posters. If I'm truly hungry, I'm willing to eat (healthy) anything. Salad, fruit, ...no dressing? Whatever, I'm hungry and I'll take it. However if I find myself saying I really don't want a salad..then I know I'm not as hunger as I think.

Did you ever go out to the kitchen because you were "hungry" and nothing looked or sounded good to the point you leave the kitchen b/c there's nothing you want? When I've done that, I was not hungry, just bored!
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:42 PM   #10
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I generally eat at planned times & ignore hunger altogether as a signal to eat. I've gotten used to bouts of hunger or cravings and they generally don't tempt me to eat.

On the other hand, there are times when I'm starving and must eat... Today I delayed lunch & I was so hungry, I couldn't function. Now, that was a hunger signal I listened to and got lunch. And now, I am well fed and functioning again.
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:22 PM   #11
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It wasn't until I got rid of grains that I actually discovered when I'm hungry. I can usually go about 8 hrs before I start feeling hungry, and I'll know it, I never watch the clock anymore. I eat when I'm hungry and never just because. If 1pm comes and I'm not hungry I don't eat, usually then by 5 I know I'm feeling hungry. Luckily with the lifestyle I started I have gone 24 hours without eating and been just fine. It is different for everyone I suppose. I would try to stretch out the time between your meals so you can train your mind and body what real hunger feels like.
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:56 PM   #12
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I'd have to echo what everyone else has said so far......I've read about the real hunger being happy eating anything vs internally driven hunger which also only wants junk. Also that emotional hunger will go away if you go do something else, occupy your mind elsewhere. Real hunger will interrupt whatever else you go do. So wait 15 minutes and see if the hunger's still there. (this only counts if you were successful in keeping your mind elsewhere, watching 15 minutes go by doesn't count! )

Also, for me, Sometimes at the end of the day, after I've had all my calories, I will feel really hungry late at night (10pm or later)....sometimes it feels more like digestion. But often I feel like it's fat that's burning, yes I'm hungry, because my fat wants to live. If I ate I would just be feeding my fat me, not my fit me.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:17 PM   #13
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my stomach lets me know in quite a noisy fashion when its time to eat.

Also i agree with jayell about the apple

i often have to ask myself, am i really hungry, or am i just trying to convince myself (and my fiance) that i am, so i have an excuse to eat fast food.

often times i will tell my fiance im hungry, and he will say "there is food in the kitchen"

and ill tell him i dont want to cook, or there isnt anything to eat or blah blah blah *insert some believable excuse here*

Thats when i know im not hungry and i just want to eat crap i shouldnt eat lol
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:41 PM   #14
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I struggle with this also. I truly believe that my full signal mechanism is broken. Even when I'm painfully full, such as after gorging myself at a buffet or a holiday dinner, I am ALWAYS ready to eat more. When I have a normal healthy-sized portion of a meal, I still have an appetite. In fact, often, I have more of an appetite. I'm at risk to overeat after every single meal, because I get that taste of food in my mouth and it would be so easy to let myself go. For example, I had a healthy dinner of 7oz of baked chicken breast and steamed vegetables, and some mashed sweet potatos for dinner. A good filling dinner with lean protein, fiber, and some warm comfort food. After I finished, I still felt starving.

Basically, my appetite, my desire to eat, manifests itself as physical hunger. My stomach literally grumbles, I feel shakey, I have every physical sign of hunger. Same thing with when I'm bored, stressed, sad, happy, etc. I am always truly hungry. Now I know it's false hunger, because my body is properly fed with healthy whole foods, but it's all the same physical signs of hunger. There's no difference in my experiences of appetite and hunger.

That being said, I also depend on the clock and routine to tell me when to eat. I eat breakfast at 8am. I eat lunch at 12pm. I eat dinner at 5pm. I eat a snack at 6-7pm. That's it, that's when I eat, and it's planned meals. If I allowed my hungry brain to tell me when to eat, I'd be completely out of control.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:57 PM   #15
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I have a hard time with this one too. I don't think I can tell the difference between being hungry and just having a desire to eat. My solution is to try to spread out my calories over the course of the day, not waiting too long between bits of food, and knowing cognitively that I just had some healthy food so I can't really need to eat again so soon. I have the hardest time in the evening, so I always make sure I have enough calories for a protein/carb snack that is pre-planned. If I didn't do that, I think I would run through the food like a vacuum cleaner, just sucking up bits of this, that and the other, which all add up quickly to huge amounts of calories.

I think that the only thing that keeps me going is knowing my eating patterns and working with them instead of trying to force myself to go against the grain. I don't think it matters when I eat as long as the food is (mostly) healthy and the total in is less that the total used. I can't rely on *hunger* or on a schedule, so I try to eat frequently and just wing it. So far it's working for me.

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